EPIC: Posey Batting Title
But I will cover recent ones that have happened. First and most of all was Buster Posey winning the official 2013 NL batting title, with the removal of the extra AB that would have qualified Melky for the title. Here is coverage from Baggarly, Schulman, and Pavlovic. He won with a .336 batting average and a strong push in the second half where the batted .385/.456/.646/1.102 (very Bondsian numbers) overall and finished much at the same pace, as since August 31st, his batting line is .382/.434/.527/1.062, which propelled him to the title, while McCutchen faltered and fell a lot and Melky was suspended and asked not to get the benefit of the rule that makes ineligible players eligible for the title.
It was an amazing end to a season where Bochy and the team had been hoping to get 100-110 games out of him IN TOTAL (he ended with 148 games: 111 at catcher, 29 at 1B, 3 at DH) because of his severe injury last season. Amazing also because this is his first full season as a player, after having last season taken away from him violently and unwarrantedly.
Buster became only the fourth catcher EVER in the NL's 137 seasons to win the batting title and the first NL catcher since Ernie Lombardi (a SF Bay Area native) in 1942. He is the second catcher in the majors since Lombardi to win it (Mauer has won it twice in the AL). He is the first Giants player to win the crown since Barry Bonds did it in 2004, here is the list of Giants who have have won the title (from Mercury):
- Roger Connor, 1885 (first Giants career leader in homeruns in the NL; see my article on that here)
- Jack Glasscock, 1890
- Larry Doyle, 1915
- Bill Terry, 1930
- Willie Mays, 1954
- Barry Bonds, 2002
- Barry Bonds, 2004
- Buster Posey, 2012
And a nice, feel-good moment out of this was that Pence rounded up donations across the team to buy Posey an unspecified gift to commemorate his accomplishment (despite prodding from the media - Baggarly asked if it got good gas mileage - it was never disclosed what was given).
EPIC: Pitching Staff
Had we known that the 2012 Giants would have the first Giants staff since 1962 to have four 14-game winners (Vogelsong was one win short of making it four 15-game winners; he certainly did well enough on Wednesday), it would not have been too big a shock. That it happened without Lincecum is the big shocker, as it was Cain, Bumgarner, Zito, and Vogelsong who made up that quartet.
EPIC: Hitting Streaks
As reported by Baggarly, Scutaro's single in the last game of the season gave him a 20-game hit streak, the third such streak by a Giant this season - previously done by Pagan and Sandoval. This gave the 2012 Giants three players with 20-game hit streaks, the first time in any season in franchise history that such an event has happened (at least back 94 years for which there is full season date, so notes Baggarly). It was also the first time in the majors since 2003, when the Pirates and Blue Jays had those feats.
EPIC: Winning Streak Fluky But Still Interesting
Zito and the Giants had a streak where the team won his start for 11 straight starts, the first since 1992 when Bill Swift did it. While an oddity like a no-hitter where a confluence of events could lead to it happening for Zito and not one of the other starters, still, given his travails while a Giant, still, it is a nice streak, better than him losing 11 straight, for certain. And he did pitch well in 7 of those 11 starts, compiling a 3.92 ERA during that streak, so it is not like he didn't pitch well during that streak, he did OK. Still, 10 of the 11 games, the offense did its job and scored at least 4 runs in support.
Baggarly reported some interesting facts about Zito that I've seen for a while and finally touching on in my blog. He is now 125-7 in his career with at least four runs of support, including 40-3 as a Giant (means he was 85-4 with the A's). Unfortunately for Zito, our offense has not been that great for most of his time as a Giant, but it has been pretty good this season, even better in the second half. As Baggarly noted, Zito was 13-1 in starts with at least 4 runs of support in 2012, 14 games in total: he only had 37 of these starts over the previous five seasons as a Giant (meaning he was 27-2 previously with the Giants).
Other Tidbits of Info
- The Giants 94 wins match the seventh most wins in the San Francisco era, as they finished eight games ahead of the D-gers. It is the fifth time the Giants have won the title in Sabean's tenure as Giants GM (16 years) and the eighth time in San Francisco (meaning Sabean is responsible for 62.5% of the divisional titles in the 44 years we have had divisions). Sabean teams have won at least 90 games in 8 seasons out of 16, Bochy 2 of 6, but more importantly 2 of the last 3, and looking to do this for many more seasons. The San Francisco Giants have won 90+ games in 18 total seasons.
- Bochy noted, when asked by an LA writer about Posey's athleticism at 1B, "Oh, I believe he could play third base. He's got good hands with his athleticism, and he's got good awareness." That was an idea I had earlier this season, which makes more sense than having Posey play 1B, as many have suggested. For one thing, as well as he has hit this season, Posey is not considered above average as a bat at 1B. His bat is way above average at catcher, hence a lot of value is created in that way. He would also be as above average if he could play 2B, but one has to wonder how his severe ankle injury affected his movement plus, more importantly, 2B have been injured in plays before, and we have Panik looking good at coming up and being our starter there. Corner OF would also be good, as he has a great arm, but we would have to wonder about his mobility there. However, many a catcher have made the move to 3B OK, given arm and handling of speeding balls coming off bats, and his bat would be way above average there as well. Most importantly, Sandoval most probably will eat his way over to 1B at some point, and if not that, then it would be better to play Posey at 3B and keep Belt at 1B for his stellar defense there.
- Lastly, I wanted to end by pointing out DrB's great post on Buster Posey. I was going to write something similar, but more along the lines of how Posey is such a great leader. But heck yeah, DrB hit the nail on the head, Posey is a special player, and that example he used, of Pence and the team giving him a special gift, is exactly what illustrates this concept. It is, to borrow DrB's words, remarkable. I've never heard of this before either, not especially since the batting title winner usually wins some sort of car, so I have to think it was something very personal, as DrB says. Posey is an EPIC player, and it is most certainly a privilege to watch him and to be able to root for the young man. That is why I am hoping the Giants sign him to some huge long-term contract buying out a couple of his free agent years, though I'm not hopeful that it'll happen, as Posey is keenly aware of his value and that is why he ended up getting $6M for his bonus even though he was the 5th player selected in the draft. I just hope the two sides can come together and get it done, something long-term like the one Longoria got from Tampa Bay, but which will probably cost a lot more.